It’s no secret that journalists work tirelessly to produce newsworthy content. According to Wendy Marx, president of Marx Communications, a third of journos internationally produce at least seven pieces of content a week. Quite a lot of work, right?
Well, that’s exactly why PR pros need to seek ways to preserve good working relationships with them — to see both parties gain their respective desired results. The big question in this regard is: How can a PR pro and a journo ensure a great
working relationship? Well,
PR pros can start by showing some consideration for the media profession and the journalists themselves — as well as understanding what it is they want from them! Without wasting another second, here are three ways for PR pros to make journalists happy:
1. PR pros can communicate with journos in a conducive manner
In both the PR and journalism fields, communication is fundamental. As a PR practitioner, it is ideal to make sure that your messaging efforts with journos are precise.
Ensure that you simplify your messaging when engaging with a journo. For example, when sharing a press statement via email, make sure that simple things — like subject lines — are clear and give a relevant and brief description of what’s contained in the email. This makes it easier for the journo to decide whether it is relevant for their publication or not.
In some instances, there could be a misunderstanding. When this happens, it’s always best to take a minute to call and cut to the chase, get to the root of your reason for communicating and clarify your brand’s content to the journalist. If you can’t get hold of that particular journo, this is not your opportunity to leave it be. Instead, drop them an email. And while it’s good to be a persistent PR pro, try not to be too
PR pros must also show some understanding in the case where journos miss some information or misquote copy. Remember, they’re human too! They are bound to get something wrong at times, and a bit of grace on your part makes a world of difference for them.
2. PR pros can respect journos time
“Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.”
The journalism profession is one driven by time and deadlines. If the content is sent out a minute too late, things could go south for your press releases and content as it could go unpublished by the media house.
Thus, for interviews and press briefings (for example), make sure you stick to the scheduled times so that you can enjoy full coverage. And, most importantly, so that you have a sufficient amount of time to brief the media before the event kicks off.
Essentially, both industries are time-driven, meaning it would be in your best interest, as a PR pro, to honour and respect the time journalists have reserved for you as earned media doesn’t come easy.
If you have a busy schedule, set a reminder on your computer or phone. If you’re not sure what the deadline is, be the first to communicate with the journo to make sure you’re still on the right track for meetings or interviews.
3. PR practitioners can maintain good relations with journos
As a PR pro, you’ll be working with journalists a lot, and so, the best mindset that you could possibly build on is that you need them just as much as they need you.
But how should you go about interacting with them in this regard? Well, certainly not by bribing them.
All interaction should avoid building a rapport that is based on unethical practice. Rather, show the respect that both you and your journo deserves and keep that communication professional, friendly and ethical.
Here are a few other things that you can try to maintain good relations with journos:
- Meet them for coffee to just have ‘water-cooler’ industry conversation.
- Send them a press drop every now and then.
- Compliment their work in a genuine and sincere way.
- Connect with them on social media platforms, as you’ll be exposed to their social side and, in this regard, you’ll understand them better.
All in all, relationships with journalists are created over time and, with some journos, it might take longer depending on their personality traits. Some are shy and discreet, while some are extroverts and are open and bubbly. Take it easy and treat each journo differently and appropriately. Journalists and independent media peeps are a PR’s gateway to securing earned publicity. Do you agree? Let us know in the comments section below.
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